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2004 Spring Cleaning Survey

America Comes Clean: House Cleaning is Not a Chore

  • National Spring Cleaning Survey Reveals Consumer Attitudes Toward Health and Home
  • Latest Soap and Detergent Association Research Asks Americans, "How clean is your home?"

Summary of Survey Results

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 4, 2004 - When it comes to housekeeping, Americans are finally coming clean. According to The Soap and Detergent Association's (SDA) 2004 National Spring Cleaning Survey, only 8% of respondents describe house cleaning as a chore they dislike. Rather, a whopping 88% consider cleaning as important to keeping their families happy, healthy and safe; keeping their houses looking presentable; or providing a sense of satisfaction when finished.

"With widespread news of flu outbreaks and the emergence of other germ-spreading diseases, there is no surprise that people better understand the importance of cleanliness," said SDA Vice President Brian Sansoni. "Most importantly, people know that good health is directly linked to good everyday hygiene, and that it begins at home."

How clean is your home?

To better understand how people view their homes, SDA (www.cleaning101.com) polled Americans on how clean they feel their homes are on an average day. Surprisingly, one quarter of the women and men surveyed rated their residences as being "very clean" (a rating of nine or 10 out of a possible 10 points). Eighty-five percent of respondents gave the cleanliness of their homes an "above average" rating.

According to the SDA, people are most likely optimistic about the level of cleanliness in their homes. "We can see dust and dirt, but germs and harmful bacteria that build up on countertops, door knobs and other areas are not apparent to the eye," said Sansoni. "In addition to spring cleaning, it is important to take measures to clean target areas regularly."

How do you select a cleaning product?

Whether dusting, deodorizing or disinfecting, the most important factor men and women name in selecting a cleaning product is that it is a "trusted brand" (24%). "Product safety" and "being a good value" closely followed (20% each). Younger respondents (18-44) were more likely to choose good value, while a trusted brand is more sought after by people ages 45+.

"The research results make sense because brands become more trusted as they are proven to be safe to use and a good value for consumers," said Sansoni. "And, the longer you know a brand, the more its benefits are proven and loyalty is enhanced."

When it comes to safety, SDA reminds consumers to read the product label directions carefully. "Take a moment to check the label," says Sansoni. "It's an easy way to make sure you're using the product safely, properly and effectively."

The Three D's of Spring Cleaning

The SDA provides the following advice for a new season of spring cleaning:

Disinfect: Just because you take out the trash, it doesn't mean you throw out the nasty germs. Use a disinfectant spray on the inside of your trash cans each time you empty them.

Deodorize: Remove built-up odors from upholstery, curtains and carpets (after vacuuming) by using a fabric refresher.

De-clutter: From closets to cupboards, get rid of items that collect dust and simply don't fit in your home any longer. Use an electrostatic dust sheet or dust mitt to pick up the dust. Launder sheets and shirts you haven't worn in a while and use a wrinkle releaser to relax and smooth out the fabrics.

"With more easy-to-use, efficient and time saving cleaning products on the market, cleaning isn't a chore," said Sansoni. "More regular daily cleaning means you can focus on the bigger tasks during spring cleaning season."

SDA has scores of useful cleaning tips on the household cleaning and disinfecting, laundry and fabric care, dishwashing, and proper home and workplace hygiene, at its website: www.cleaning101.com. Links to SDA members: www.cleaning101.com/about/members.cfm.

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The Soap and Detergent Association (www.cleaning101.com) is the non-profit trade association representing manufacturers of household, industrial, and institutional cleaning products; their ingredients; and finished packaging; and oleochemical producers. SDA members produce more than 90 percent of the cleaning products marketed in the U.S. The SDA is located at 1500 K Street, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005.

2004 National Spring Cleaning Survey Results

Consumers Choose Brand, Safety, Value

What is the most important factor you consider when selecting a cleaning product?

  • Choosing a trusted brand (24%) is the number one answer among women and men
  • Products that are safe to use and a good value received an equal vote (20%)

Other Answers:

  • Easy to use (14%)
  • Product performance/efficacy (10%)
  • Fragrance (4%)
Cleaning is Not a Chore

Which of the following best describes how you think of house cleaning?

  • The top answer given by women and men (more frequently than women) is that cleaning is important to keeping my family happy, healthy and safe (37%)
  • The second most popular response is that cleaning is something I have to do to keep my house looking presentable (35%), cited more frequently by women

Other Answers:

  • Something I enjoy doing, giving me a satisfied feeling when done (16%)
  • A chore I dislike, and only do when it piles up (8%)
Daily Home Hygiene

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being very clean and 1 being not at all clean, how clean do you think your home is on an average day?

  • More than one quarter of all respondents rated their home a 9 or 10 (very clean) on an average day (26%)
  • 86% feel their home is above average
  • The most common responses were 8 (31%) and 7 (21%)

The 2004 National Spring Cleaning Survey was completed for The Soap and Detergent Association by International Communications Research (ICR). ICR questioned 1,000 American male and female heads of household regarding their house cleaning attitudes. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus five percent.